Sometimes all it takes is stress caused by a mean comment from a friend, and we can easily end up suffering from some disorder. Luckily, after nearly a decade, Ruth Sweet, 25, from Saltby in Leicestershire was able put an end to her problem thanks to an innovative procedure. And finally, after so many years of struggling, Ruth married her childhood sweetheart Josh Sweet, 26.
Sweet was diagnosed at age of 14 with trichotillomania. This is an impulse control disorder that leads sufferers to obsessively pluck out their hairs, triggered by anxiety or stress. After her parents divorce, her severe condition led to losing nearly all of her hair in addition to her confidence. Hair plucking gave her a sense of relief, but it led to terrible consequences
“I would spend hours searching for the right hair to pull and while I was pulling, I felt safe, like I had a security blanket around me,” “[Most] women have about 150,000 hairs on their head and I think over the years, I’ve pulled every single one out,” Sweet told the Daily Mail. Soon, she was left with massive bald patches and a lack of confidence.
While she was a teenager, Sweet managed to hide her obsessive pulling by covering up her bald patches with headbands and by strategically arranging her hair. “I would not eat or stop until I had pulled the right hair. It had to be thick and frizzy and have a big root on the end,” she explained. “I would pull multiple hairs at a time and cause my scalp to bleed, which I would then pick at to keep the scab going.”
Sweet even managed to hide her painful condition from the love of her life for three years.
“Josh didn’t know until around two and a half years ago that I was actually pulling my own hair out, as I concealed it so well,” she admits. “If he ever noticed any bald patches, I told him my hair was falling out on its own and hid that I was pulling it out myself.” Ater her husband realized what was happening, he was able to support Sweet to overcome her condition. “He told me I was beautiful with or without hair so I made the decision to shave it off completely to stop me pulling”
But before getting married, she was determined to restore her hair.
After Sweet had been turned down multiple times for treatment by the National Health Service, she went to a private specialist. There she received a pioneering Intralace system which cost her over 2,000 USD. The device is a hair-covered breathable mesh that gives the wearer the hair of their dreams and prevents any pulling.
“The initial cost was £1,500 ($1,864 USD), but I have to go back for follow-ups a couple of times a year, but it is worth every single penny,” she says. The results speak for themselves. Sweet married Josh with a full head of long hair.
She had a Half-up, half-down style that went absolutely gorgeous with her wedding dress and accessories.
She couldn’t be happier with the results and she finally found her confidence once again. Now she is raising awareness during International No Pulling Week to help others who are suffering from the condition. Until now there is no known cure for Trichotillomania, but the Intralace system has been found to be helpful.